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The Ultimate Budapest Bucket List – 11 Unique Things to Do in Budapest!

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One of my all-time favourite cities, and probably the most underrated, in Europe is Budapest.

Not only is it stupidly cheap, friendly, and exciting, but it is also an absolutely beauty to wander around.

With the two sides of the hilly affluent Buda, the flat cosmopolitan Pest, and the majestic Danube river flowing in between them you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied and intrigued when you pay a visit.

It is also a city which is steeped in colourful history and culture, so there’s definitely more to it than meets the eye.

As it can be a bit overwhelming to choose what to do on a city break to the capital of Hungary.

So, here is your Budapest Bucket List to ensure you experience some of the highlights with 10 unique things to do in Budapest!

Budapest Bucket List | things to do in Budapest
Views of Budapest

Budapest Travel Resources

  • Don’t forget travel insurance, I always use World Nomads

Top tips and useful phrases for Budapest

Hungarian is notoriously one of the most difficult languages for foreigners to learn.

But there are a few phrases that may help as you’re wandering around;

Hello = Szia (see ya)

How are you? = Hogy Vagy (Hoj Vaj)

Please = Kerem (ke-rem)

Thank you = Kozi (Kossy)

Goodbye = Szia (see ya)

My particular favourite is Cheers! which translates to Egészségedre! Which can be a bit of a mouthful.

A useful hack that I learned on the walking tour there was if you say ‘I guess she can drive’ and say it really fast, you’ll be an expert in cheering your Schnapps there in no time!

11 top things to do in Budapest

1. Relax at the spa

Budapest is famous for its Thermal baths and is even nicknamed ‘the city of spas’, so it is an essential experience for any visit.

There are plenty to choose from as they are scattered around the city, but the most popular are Gellért and Széchenyi.

I paid a visit to the Szechenyi Spa and it was an amazing labyrinth of baths at different temperatures, steam rooms, and an outdoor heated pool which was gorgeously hot and kept you warm even with the bitter November cold!

There are all sorts of luxury packages available which include massages but you can just buy a basic ticket depending on your budget. I would highly recommend it.

Budapest Bucket List | things to do in Budapest

2. Take a Champagne Night Cruise on the Danube

On my first night on landing in Hungary, I headed straight out of my hotel and onto the Danube for a starlit river cruise.

Here, you can see the UNESCO world heritage riverbanks light up under the night sky and enjoy a glass of Champagne as you sigh from the beauty!

Although you get one included, the champagne is super cheap at around £1 a glass so you can definitely afford a top-up.

My personal highlight was seeing the Hungarian Parliament building light up, it was marvellous.

Tickets are around £10 and can be booked online beforehand. Get in quick as spaces are limited in winter.

Budapest Bucket List | things to do in Budapest

3. Take in the views from Fisherman’s Bastion

A famous vantage point and popular tourist spot in Budapest is the Fisherman’s Bastion.

From standing here on the Buda side you can get some incredible views of Pest.

What I loved about this view is seeing the amazing tiled rooftops of all buildings in the Jewish quarter!

Make sure you visit as the views are completely free and pretty as a postcard.

Budapest Bucket List | things to do in Budapest
Views from the Fishermans Bastion

4. Join a Free Budapest Walking Tour

I am a sucker for a free walking tour. I find as a solo traveller not only does it allow me to meet people but I don’t feel so alone when I travel around.

It is a great way to bring any city alive as you have locals who are more than happy to rave about it.

The Budapest FREE walking tour will remain high on my list as the guides are funny, knowledgeable, and passionate about their city.

Although it says ‘free’, a tip is expected and you’ll find you get more than your money’s worth! You can book a tour beforehand here.

Budapest Bucket List | things to do in Budapest

5. Go shopping at the Great Market Hall

A visit to the central market is a must. If you’re looking for souvenirs, to sample the local cuisine, or to buy Schnapps, this is the place.

Due to Russian influences, there are a lot of Matryoshka dolls and other similar gifts to take home. 

If you’re after food, you can try Goulash, Pancakes, and other Hungarian delights at the food hall (make sure you buy some Schnapps to accompany it).

6. See the sun go down at Gellért Hill

A Viewpoint that, in my opinion, supersedes the fisherman’s Bastion is Gellért hill.

As you walk around the fort, you will have amazing 360-degree views of the city.

You can also look down at the vantage point over the Danube, and see the sunset and the city lights.

You can get here by taking the number 27 bus from Moricz Zsigmond ter, bring some Hungarian wine, snacks, and some traveller friends with you, and be prepared for an amazing show!

Budapest Bucket List | things to do in Budapest

7. Enjoy a Night at the Opera

Although I would usually see a visit to the Opera as a splash-out, in Hungary it’s state-funded so you can get tickets for next to nothing.

You will be sitting in the gods, but you’ll still have a great view and get to see inside their amazing opera house!

The opulence is out of this world and the performances are top quality. Make sure you book yourself in for the evening.

Budapest Bucket List | things to do in Budapest

8. Cross the Chain Bridge

There are many bridges that connect Buda to Pest but the chain bridge has to be the best of the best.

With the marvellous lions standing on guard on each side, you will get great views of the city as you walk over at any time of the day.

It is an architectural masterpiece that mustn’t be missed from your itinerary!

Budapest Bucket List | things to do in Budapest

9. Tour the Hungarian Parliament building

The building is an iconic fixture on the city’s riverbank but if you’re curious to have a peek inside, there are tours that run daily.

Here, you will learn the history of the building and parliament, see where the sessions are held, and experience some amazingly lavish rooms!

It’s worth a visit but go early or book tickets beforehand. Tickets are around £5.

Budapest Bucket List
Hungarian Parliament Building

10. See the Shoes on the Danube Bank

Built as a memorial to the Jews who lost their lives during World War II, it is a moving and artistic sight to behold at the same time.

The story goes that the Jewish citizens were told to take off their shoes and were killed by the Arrow Cross at the riverside, with their bodies floating downstream.

Moved by this story, a local film director and sculptor decided to commemorate them with their shoes eternally by the river.

It is definitely worth a visit and is located down the bank from the Parliament building.

Budapest Bucket List
Shoes on the Danoube

11. Rock out at a Ruin Pub

One of the coolest things about Budapest is its intriguing nightlife.

When I first heard of the Ruin Pubs there, I instantly felt compelled to find out what they were all about!

Using old buildings which were due to be demolished, the youth of Budapest transformed these into Pubs to be enjoyed for a night on the town.

These are seriously some of the coolest pubs I have been to in Europe and you need to visit.

Here, you can see bands, enjoy drinks and there are plenty of rooms available.

Out of all the Ruin Pubs, the highlight has to be Szimpla Kert.

Boasting around 20 rooms all with different adventures, you can watch movies, bands, sit in abandoned cars, and smoke sheesha to your heart’s content!

Budapest Bucket List
Szimpla Kert
Ruin Pub in Budapest

So, there you have it – a mighty Budapest Bucket List 

There is plenty more to get stuck into when visiting this incredible city so be set for an urban adventure.

If you’re stuck for time, you can get a Metro pass to speed up your journey time between each attraction, but I personally preferred walking around as there are gems hidden on every street corner here.

It is a seriously underrated city and if you are undecided on whether to put it on your European itinerary, I would definitely say YES!

Budapest is truly magnificent and it waits to delight in you.

Read more of my Hungary travel guides

How to visit the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library

A complete guide for Fisherman’s Bastion

New York Café Budapest Review – the prettiest cafe in the world?

Parisi Passage – Visit a hidden secret arcade

Fairytale Bory Castle – a perfect day trip from Budapest

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Here are some trusted Hungary travel resources

  • Flights: I use Skyscanner to look for flight deals. Try to be flexible with travel dates for the best prices.
  • Accommodation: is my go-to hotel platform and I’ve used them for years. 
  • Car rental: Rental Cars is a great choice that compares all sorts of rental companies and gets you the best price.
  • Activities: I love GetYourGuide and use the platform all the time for booking group tours and attraction tickets.
  • e-Reader: I love to read Romantasy books and I always take my beloved Kindle Oasis with me. It has an orange light and is waterproof which is perfect for lounging by the pool.
  • Travel insurance: I always use World Nomads to book travel insurance. You never know when you’ll need cover! 


Tuesday 5th of July 2022

Thank you for this awesome blog post!! I'm going to Budapest next week & plan my trip there with your post. :)

Sophie Pearce

Wednesday 20th of July 2022

Hi Sabrina, that's great! Budapest is one of my favourite cities. I hope you enjoy it! Sophie x